Why I’m Happy About The iPhone 5’s Lightning Connector
Unlike a lot of pundits, I have no problem with Apple’s switch to the lighting connector, and unfazed that it didn’t go with Micro USB or another standard. The smaller, dual-orientation plug is fantastic in use and the proprietary connector allows Apple to offer compatibility with audio accessories and more that a Micro USB plug would not be able to offer.
But that aside, I’m happy about the change for a completely different, if somewhat pedantic, reason: The lightning connector will no longer gouge the top edge of my pinkie finger.
This may be silly to some, but those of you that use an iPhone incessantly will likely know what I’m talking about. When I hold my iPhone one-handed, I tend to support the bottom edge with my pinkie. This allows me to not worry about it slipping out of my hand and support it while I bash away with my thumb.
My one-handed grip looks something like this:
Unfortunately, this has led to issues over the last several iPhones, as the bottom of the devices has been dominated by Apple’s 30-pin connector. A connector with sharp edges that dug into the flesh of my supporting pinkie. You may laugh, but it became a problem with the iPhone 3GS and 3G especially, because the connector was located at the apex of the bottom curvature of the phone, making it a perfect bladed edge:
Eventually, I had to start cradling the phone in one hand and tapping with the other like an octogenarian popping out an email one letter at a time (no offense intended to my wiser and better elders). The iPhone 4 and 4S did away with the curve, and bullnosed the connector edge a bit, but the hole was still there and the phones were so heavy that they tended to weigh harder on my poor pinkie finger:
Now, the iPhone 5 fixes all of that with a tiny, aggressively rounded Lightning connector port, which — I’m happy to report — has shown no signs of terrorizing my tender pink flesh:
The dock connector’s smaller, friendlier shape is also aided by the fact that the iPhone 5 is also .74 ounces lighter than the iPhone 4S, which is the heaviest iPhone Apple’s ever made.
So yeah, aside from the technical advantages, we also get a nice one-handed usability boost too. Thanks, Apple.